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Non-Violence : The History of a Dangerous Idea Hardcover – 2006
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"This is a magnificent achievement" * Daily Telegraph * "Erudite and eloquent" * Economist * "Kurlansky writes history with his heart firmly on his sleeve, unashamedly hopeful that people are becoming more tired of war, quicker to condemn it" -- Adam Forrest * Sunday Herald * "Short and punchy and has a good heart... fascinating, vibrant and thought-provoking" * Scotland on Sunday * "This book is crammed with historical fact... thought provoking" * Financial Times * --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Mark Kurlansky is the bestselling author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (winner of the Glenfiddich Best Food Book Award), The Basque History of the World, Salt: A World History, 1968: The Year that Rocked the World, a short story collection The White Man in the Tree and a novel Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue (all published by Cape and Vintage). He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I was greatly impressed with this book and its line of argument, although I am not sure it made a full convert of me. Kurlansky refutes the critics of non violence by pointing out that violence does not work either, and that is a fair point. But there is nothing dreamy or wildly idealistic about Kurlansky's narrative here. Non-violence is put forth as a practical approach to political action. One non-violent leader explains his rejection of violence quite simply - "We have no guns."
A fair objection to the book, I think, could be that it has an mostly American, not global, perspective, which works for me, but maybe not for everyone. To be fair, the book also reports on the rebel Jesus as an advocate of non-violence and contains a brief re-telling of Gandhi's activity. Most significantly, the book makes the compelling case that it was non-violent resistance that brought down the Iron Curtain, freeing Eastern Europe, and dismantling the Soviet Union.
Highly recommended for everyone. An easy read on a difficult subject. And you don't have to agree with it to learn from it.
Like most things -- the truth lies in the middle. Still worth the read and consideration.
Not sure that Hitler or Stalin could have been defeated by non-violent means. Evil (both on the right and the left) needs to be fought -- nonviolently, if possible -- but, sometimes wars are necessary.
I resisted buying this book for a while; even though I have read most of his other books, and have recommend Cod, The Big Oyster, and The Last Fish Tale to others. The case for active non-violence is strongly made in this book. There are numerous historic accounts of successful non-violent resistance that most of us have little familiarity, as our world tends to cater toward violence as a way of life and an instrument of the state. It points to the ethical issues, but also discusses how non-violent movements must be 100% non-violent to be effective - but that to achieve this and remain effective is very hard, as it does work against human nature.
I do believe this is a book that should be read by everyone in the world. What may not be emphasized enough is that active non-violence is probably necessary to maintain a true democracy - as the government is an instrument of power that will grow unchecked unless citizens actively question the government's motives - especially when that government tells us we are "un-American" to do so. If we asked the founding fathers, I bet they would say it us "un-American" to NOT challenge the motives authority and power. We should incorporate it in everyday life.
Most recent customer reviews
When the REVOLUTION BEGINS,
KEEP THIS IN MIND>
"THEY" know what to do with violence.Read more
I highly recommend this.